Pre-launch animation showing 2003 MER mission from launch to entry, descent and landing. Created by Dan Maas. Master: DVCPro25. Audio 1: Mono mix 2: Mono mix.
January 3, 2014
Maas Digital's "MER 2003 Animation"
This video was initially produced in 2002 by Maas Digital for NASA/JPL, in advance of the Mars Exploration Rover being launched. As it is now a little dated (this review is being written in January, 2014), the quality of some of the sequences does not hold up. However, at the time, it was an amazing piece of work, and is still holding its own.
When originally released, the animation used music by Bela Fleck ("Turtle Rock") as well as "Mars" from Gustav Holst's "The Planets". Due to licensing issues with some of the music used, the music was removed. Sadly, it added greatly to the initial release.
The video itself is still very good.
Noteworthy is the landing sequence. While the bouncing in the animation is impressive, the reality is that the actual rovers probably bounced far less. The surface is impressive, but in reality the surface at both landing sites was far more varied (these initial textures were apparently based on the surfaces at the sites of the previous missions).
In 2003, I would have given this a solid five stars. However, it still ranks four, as it has held up better than expected.